Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Egyptian Initiative Won, Hamas Lost, Says Diplomat

Hamas has given up its demands for air and sea ports. Israeli team is in Cairo, meeting Egyptian intelligence officials.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/6/2014, 8:11 AM

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi
Reuters

“Hamas has suffered a military beating, in terms of the rocket array and the tunnels, and has arrived in Cairo with its demands no longer on the agenda,” a diplomatic source said Tuesday. “Hamas could have received the same thing in the first ceasefire that was offered, but it refused the Egyptian initiative and in the end surrendered to what the Egyptians dictated. The blockade has not been lifted. In the end, the Egyptian initiative has won and therefore Hamas has lost.”

Egypt has reportedly made clear to the Palestinian delegation that the construction of an international airport in Gaza and the opening of the sea port are not on the agenda of the talks. As for the crossing between Egypt and Gaza at Rafah – one report said that Egypt refuses to talk about that too, and another says it will only talk about the possibility if control of the crossing's Gazan side is placed in the hands of Mahmoud Abbas, and not Hamas.

The Israeli negotiating team is reportedly already in Egypt and was to meet with Egyptian intelligence officials Tuesday evening. The Egyptian officials are acting as mediators between Israel and Hamas.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu chaired a meeting of the Diplomacy-Security Cabinet Tuesday to discuss the proposed ceasefire. The agreement is to be based on the understandings reached after Operation Pillar of Smoke in 2012. It will include an understanding that Israel will respond with fire to any fire by Hamas, and will regulate Gazans' fishing rights and the movement of people and goods through the crossings. At the same time, Israel will work with the Egyptians on “preventing Hamas from growing stronger,” in coordinating activity to keep rockets and other weapons from crossing into Gaza from Sinai.

The Cabinet was reportedly shown a presentation in the course of the war, outlining the IDF's prediction of what taking control of Gaza would involve. According to the military's estimates, conquering Gaza would take months and ridding it of all weapons would take five years. The cost would be hundreds of soldiers killed and 10 billion shekels.

The prime minister said Tuesday that the Operation Protective Edge “damaged a strategic array that Hamas put a huge effort into, for years. The ability that Hamas prepared in digging these tunnels would have enabled it to abduct and murder numerous citizens and IDF soldiers by a simultaneous attack from many tunnels that penetrate our territory. There is no guarantee of 100% success, but we did all we could to obtain the maximum.”

Even before the arrival of the Israeli team, the Egyptians began talking with the Palestinian delegation, which includes representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Hamas-Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh published a statement Tuesday evening in which he boasted that “the military victory by the Resistance and the legendary strength of our nation are leading us to a removal of the blockade from Gaza.”

"What the enemy failed to achieve militarily, will not be attained diplomatically either,” he added. “We are convinced that our Egyptian and Arab brothers agree with the Resistance about the need to end the siege of Gaza.”

Even before the arrival of the Israeli team, the Egyptians began talking with the Palestinian delegation, which includes representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Hamas-Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh published a statement Tuesday evening in which he boasted that “the military victory by the Resistance and the legendary strength of our nation are leading us to a removal of the blockade from Gaza.”

"What the enemy failed to achieve militarily, will not be attained diplomatically either,” he added. “We are convinced that our Egyptian and Arab brothers agree with the Resistance about the need to end the siege of Gaza.”